Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB), University of Colorado at Boulder

The CCB is an educational, outreach, and networking organization at the University of Colorado, Boulder. CCB focuses on enhancing the value and use of climate, water, and weather information for the betterment of societies and the well being of individuals around the world.
Sep 14, 2015

The 2015 El Nino might challenge our success

Aridity during th rainy season
Aridity during th rainy season
  • Several institutes from NOAA to the Australian Weather Bureau are releasing information that the 2015 El Nino will be much stronger than that of the 1997/98 El Nino. The Effect of El Nino is felt locally either in the form of abnormal rainfall or extreme drought. I have received reports from the project area that extreme drought has been felt in the village. According to our volunteer, Amanuel Gebru who visited the village ten days ago he stated that “Speaking about the rainfall situation- the project area is severely affected by the current drought impact. There were only three days of rain each month since the beginning of the rainy season in June, July and August.” He added that “cereals are in the field are getting wilted” and farmers waiting for at least two rains in order to have at least minimum harvest and avert total crop failure”.
  • The check dams for in situ water harvesting have done great but they need to be raised so that they can trap more sediment and moisture, Amanuel added. However, the treated stream is much better than the other springs that have already dried due to the poor rainy season in the village. Spring flow is very low due to the aridity due to the failure of the rainy season. There is fear that the spring might not serve them more than three months unless they receive rain in the mean time. The water flow in the small gully down the spring is lower than last year at the same time as the photos by Amanuel Gebru (below) show.
  • Based on the observation obtained about the apple trees especially in farmers’ field are started harvests ranging from 5-50 fruits per trees on average. Though they didn’t sell the fruits due to lack of access to the market they are adding new food variety to their diet. Our volunteer states that the use of clay pots to grow temperate fruits is a success and has impacted the community.
  • Dear supports: Immediate action is needed to harvest any rainfall that might come out side the main season such as in October as happened in the 1997/98 El Nino even. Thank you for your continued success.
There should have been more water than this
There should have been more water than this
Optimism  due to the maturity of the apple fruits
Optimism due to the maturity of the apple fruits
Ato Hailemariam around the houshold apple
Ato Hailemariam around the houshold apple
Amanuel Gebru with Ato Hailu and Ato Hailemariam
Amanuel Gebru with Ato Hailu and Ato Hailemariam
Jun 19, 2015

Research on the use of clay pots completed

the clay pot installation layout
the clay pot installation layout

Dear supporters

Your support of the  Victory gardens project is developing an wider intereste that can potential be useful to upscale it to a wider application and diffusion. The Mater thesis on the use of clay pots that was inspired by the project has become fruitfull.

Amanuel Gebru has been a volunteer at out victory gardens project in Ethiopia. He was inspired by the concept of the Victory Gardens project because he saw the potential transformative ability of the concept of using water filled buried clay pots as efficient irrigation technologies to grow fruits and vegetables in the dry-lands. The technology helps communities to produce fruits and vegetables and lead to food and livelihood security. As last reported the volunteer was admitted to the Masters Program at the Ethiopian Institute for Climate and Society at Mekelle University.

Amanuel decided to contribute to the idea of the project by choosing his MSC thesis on the design of locally made clay pots (bar-shaped) and economic potential to grow vegetables. The title of his thesis is “Evaluating water and economic productivity of bar shaped clay pot irrigation technology under small scale Swiss chard, pepper and tomato growers’ condition in northern Ethiopia.” He has now completed his thesis and successfully defended it on June 14th, 2015.

The objective of his thesis is “to assess the yield response, water productivity and economic performance of a bar shaped clay pot design for selected vegetables”. The specific objectives have been “to compare the yield and yield component responses of bar shaped clay pot sub-surface and furrow irrigation system by comparing the water productivity of bar shaped clay pot and furrow irrigation and to compare the economic performance of bar shaped clay pot irrigation and furrow irrigation application”. Amanuel’s field site was in a plot located at Mekelle University and harvested vegetables multiple times in a year and collected detailed data to compare the productivity of clay pot irrigation and conventional watering system on crop yields as well as water saving.

The planting procedure used was vegetable seeds and seedlings were planted at “0.05 m apart from the wall of the pots in both sides in the case of Swiss chard and one side of the pot in pepper and tomato. The furrow has also its own dimension and it was similar in both tomato and pepper that is 0.2 m width of lower furrow and 0.3 m upper width and the plant was placed at an average 0.25m. Whereas 0.1m width of lower furrow and 0.2m upper width of the furrow then seed were dropped at 0.15 m width of the furrow in the case of Swiss chard.” Here are the findings of Amanuel’s research research.

  • The yield increased in clay pot by 51%, 32% and 30% in Swiss chard, tomato and pepper respectively.
  • Water saving capability was 40.55%, 41.74% and 41.18% in Swiss chard, tomato and pepper respectively
  • Water productivity of bar shaped clay pot was 10.9 kg/m3, 4.17 kg/m3 and 1.83 kg/m3 in Swiss chard, tomato and pepper correspondingly that is by far superior than furrow irrigation practice

Economic return of clay pot in Swiss chard with net benefit of 374,761.8, 226,066.2 in tomato and 182, 846 Ethiopian birr in pepper and this was much higher than the net benefit from furrow irrigation practice after six season harvest by forecasting

This is very important for the diffusion of the technology with multiple effects. The clay pots for the research were made by a local rural woman. The findings are great confirmations to the extension community and development agents to share with farmers to improve their income and diversify their family nutrition. We would like to thank you

Amanuel's main advisor was Dr. Araya Alemie of Mekelle University and the research and Amanuel's study was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation grant.  He is also gratefull to Dr. Amanuel Abraha, Director of the Ethiopian Institue for Climate and Society for his support and leadership.

Again, thank you for your usual support.

after plantation of the vegetables
after plantation of the vegetables
Mar 16, 2015

A graduate student writing a thesis on the project

Bar shaped buried clay pots-A. Gebru
Bar shaped buried clay pots-A. Gebru's experiment

Dear supporters

The project you have been supporting, building victory gardens....has began to impact schools of higher education in the region. It has influenced a research interest at Mekelle University’s Ethiopian Institute for Climate and Society (ICS). Amanuel Gebru, a former development practitioner in one of the local NGOs and an active volunteer in our project has been admitted to the Climate and Society Masters program in  2013/14.. I met Amanuel in December when I visited Mekelle University to teach Sustainable Development to the incoming graduate students. Amanuel took the time to take me to his experimental site (see picture). I also read his draft proposal and discussed his planned experiment on the effectiveness of the clay pot irrigaiton system. He wants to test a bar-shaped clay pot design instead of the traditional round clay pot. The bar shaped clay pot for the experiment is also manufactured by traditional female potter in the nearby village.

When completed, the research output will have a positive impact on the diffusion of the buried clay pot irrigation method. It will also contribute to the sustainability of the idea and help for a successful climate change adaptation and food security in this arid area and beyond. Amanuel’s hypothesis is that “water filled and buried clay pot irrigation technology could play a big role under climate variability in producing more crop even under drought conditions and high transpiration” is an idea whose time has come. Amanuel believes that the bar shaped clay pot might be the best design and efficient irrigation system. Lets hope that he comes up with a successful positive outcome from his research.

Amanuel’s research is progressing with a test site that was assigned to him by Mekelle University. He will ‘attempt to map area suitability of clay pot technology, test the bar shaped clay pot design and see profitability of the technology on the targeted research area. Amanuel's lead thesis advisor Dr. Araya A. Berhe of the ICS is very optimistic about the research outcome. We wish Amanuel the best of lack and also thank you for his volunteering on the project. We will keep you updated on the success of the research.

This implies that your support to the project through globalgiving.org is having a larger impact beyond the  students in the village.

Again, thank you for the support. Happy Spring to you and your loved ones!

 
   

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